lightbulb moment.

Robert Flow is a legal writer and content marketer who investigates leads and tracks down interesting stories.

In the workplace, it can sometimes be difficult to discipline employees who have also filed a complaint against the company. You don’t want to let misconduct slide, but you also don’t want to create the impression that you are retaliating against that employee. Allen Smith, J.D., reviews new EEOC guidance to help you navigate this tricky situation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Employers also can reduce their chances of being accused of retaliation if they adopt a plain-language policy prohibiting retaliation, train all of their employees to identify and stop retaliation, and document employment actions, the EEOC noted.
  • “The only real downside, in my experience, to having HR conduct the investigation, is HR’s often heavy workload,” Cummings said. “There are times when HR managers become backlogged or are involved in bigger company initiatives and simply cannot conduct an investigation promptly, despite their desire to do so.
  • Managers must be trained to “pick up that phone when there is any hint of a potential HR or legal issue,” Nolan said. With an employee who has filed a complaint, “The manager should be on notice that the employee has legal rights that may complicate otherwise routine disciplinary or performance issues, and [that the manager] must work with HR.”

“She also noted that an HR investigator is more likely to be seen as neutral than a supervisor or manager who works in the same department as a complaining employee who also is accused of misconduct.”